Data mining is the practice of automatically searching large stores of data to discover patterns and trends that go beyond simple analysis, according to Oracle. "Business intelligence is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance," according to Gartner.
According to UCLA, data mining software is one of a number of analytical tools for analyzing data. It allows users to analyze data from many different dimensions or angles, categorize it, and summarize the relationships identified. Companies have used powerful computers to sift through volumes of data and analyze market research reports for years. However, continuous innovations in computer processing power, disk storage and statistical software are dramatically increasing the accuracy of analysis while driving down the cost.
According to CIO, business intelligence as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting. Companies use business intelligence to improve decision making, cut costs and identify new business opportunities. Business intelligence is more than just corporate reporting and more than a set of tools to coax data out of enterprise systems. Chief information officers use business intelligence to identify inefficient business processes that are ripe for re-engineering.